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TP-Link Archer AX73
Retail price: $199.99
What we like
What we don't like
TP-Link Archer AX73
In the era of Wi-Fi 6, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a Wi-Fi router that provides both coverage and speed at a price that’s easy on the wallet. The TP-Link Archer AX73 fits the bill thanks to its six antennas, blistering dual-band 5,400Mbps speeds, and reasonable price tag. Is it the Wi-Fi 6 router of your dreams? Find out in the Android Authority TP-Link Archer AX73 review.
What you need to know about the TP-Link Archer AX73
- TP-Link Archer AX73 (AX5400): $199
The TP-Link Archer AX73 is an AX5400-class router, which means it supports 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 at 5,400Mbps. It also supports up to 8K streaming and can connect to dozens of devices at once while blanketing your entire home with speedy signal. In addition to raw performance, the Archer AX73 also offers WPA3 security, USB media sharing, and an always-ready full-throttle CPU thanks to its vented design.
Toss in parental controls, backwards compatibility with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards, and smart power saving features, and you have an appealing option on hand at an affordable cost.
The Archer AX73 is fast. It was built to support raw speeds up to 5,400Mbps using both 5GHz and 2.4GHz together. It can support a single 4.8Gbps stream over 5GHz and a single 574Mbps stream over 2.4GHz. Most home connections aren’t nearly that fast, but it’s important for future-proofing nonetheless. Its dual-band design allows it to double the bandwidth to 160Hz, which is a nice wide channel — this is what helps it support more devices at a time. It also supports up to six simultaneous streams thanks to the six antennae. My home internet service (Verizon FiOS) can reach 940Mbps maximum speeds, and that’s what I saw from the Archer AX73 at endpoints such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Granted, those speeds were when I was close to the AX73. The further I moved away from the router, the slower the speeds got. Still, my minimum speeds were in the 300Mbps range which is more than enough for streaming.
See also: The best VPN routers for business and personal use
The Archer AX73 provides good coverage. Sure, the six antennas make the AX73 look like an alien spaceship, but they’re what beam the signal all over your home. My office, where all my networking equipment is located, is in a second-floor bedroom. With the AX73, I was able to find a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the second floor and downstairs on the first floor. I noticed a bit of a drop-off in terms of signal strength in the basement (two floors down from the router), but the connection was still strong enough to stream HD video. The signal also reached my front and back yards with no problem, though at much slower speeds.
The router supported all my stuff. I was able to connect dozens of devices, including phones, tablets, Chromebooks, streaming boxes, and smart home gear such as video doorbells and smoke detectors to the Archer AX73 with no problem or degradation of service across any of the gear.
Media sharing and backup services are supported thanks to the USB 3.0 port. You can connect a media server to the Archer AX73 to give everyone access to movies and music, or attach something like an Apple Time Machine-compatible drive for over-the-air backups (Mac required).
Setup takes mere minutes. You can rely on either the simple Tether mobile application or the more advanced website to fully configure and control the Archer AX73.
What’s not so good?
I saw some connection drops on some of my devices, particularly those that were in the basement. One of my smoke detectors and one of my streaming boxes dropped the connection to the Archer AX73 and I had to go back into the settings of those devices to reconnect them. It was a bit of a hassle.
More reading: The best gaming routers: Say goodbye to Wi-Fi lag
TP-Link’s HomeShield software, which is baked into the router and Tether mobile app, costs extra for the best features. Granted, the service provides plenty of tools at no cost. For example, you can control the quality of service for select devices, set a single bedtime, as well as see weekly and monthly reports on the performance of the network for free. If you want to set multiple bedtimes, see visited URLs, view safety statistics, set reward times, and receive the strongest protections, you’ll have to fork over $5.99 per month or $54.99 per year. Also, I dislike that I have to create a TP-Link account to use the Tether app.
Mesh networking is supported, but costs extra. Mesh networking allows multiple routers to join their signals and provide a more seamless connection experience across a greater area. The Archer AX73 can handle mesh networking although you’ll need to buy the OneMesh Range Extender separately ($90).
TP-Link Archer AX73 review: Should I buy it?
The TP-Link Archer AX73 does what it sets out to do. This affordable Wi-Fi 6 router pushes incredibly fast speeds to multiple devices throughout your home securely and easily. Setup is a breeze and getting your devices connected takes almost no time at all. Once you’re configured, you can expect superb bit rates across rooms for all your connected gear.
The TP-Link Archer AX73 is a Wi-Fi 6 router that pushes incredibly fast speeds to multiple devices throughout your home securely and easily.
Perhaps the most direct competitor to the Archer AX73 is the ASUS RT-AX82U. The AX82U is also an AX5400-class Wi-Fi 6 router that sells for $229. The AX82U, however, focuses a bit more on gamers with a dedicated port and gaming settings. There’s also the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 Router, which is a bit pricier at $299. It, too, puts more of an emphasis on gaming, though it offers the same raw speeds as the AX73.
At $200, the Archer AX73 is perfectly affordable and worth your consideration.